Monday, July 16, 2012

How Close Are We to a New Great Depression?

The risk of a new depression — a sustained, severe recession — has struck fear into the heart of markets and driven monetary policy in developed economies since the current financial crisis began.


“We’re in a very unfortunate position to be here,” Richard Duncan, author of The New Depression, warned on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Monday.
“When we broke the link between money and gold, this removed all constraints on credit creation. This explosion of credit created the world we live in, but it now seems that credit cannot expand any further because the private sector is incapable of repaying the debt it has already, and if credit begins to contract, there’s a very real danger that we will collapse into a new Great Depression,” he argued.
“If this credit bubble pops, the depression could be so severe that I don’t think our civilization could survive it.”
The explosion in cheap credit has been widely blamed for the global financial crisis, but the debate about how to fix the problem continues.
In the past few years, central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve [cnbc explains] , the European Central Bank [cnbc explains] and the Bank of England have pumped liquidity into their financial systems through a number of ways, including quantitative easing [cnbc explains] and the ECB’s long-term refinancing operation (LTRO).
“We could keep deferring the depression, but that could just encourage the bad guys. If you do this, you possibly do more harm than good,” Roger Nightingale, economist and strategist at RND Associates, told CNBC Monday.
“You can defer, but not prevent.”

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